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Do Military Veterans Have More Health Problems Than Civilians?

desnousa, flickr

A new report from the CDC finds that men who’ve served in the military carry a heavier health burden than civilians — in fact, veterans are significantly more likely to have two or more chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

The report, which compared veterans’ health to that of non-veterans, found that older veterans are especially at risk. Nearly 20 percent of them between 45 and 54 had two chronic conditions, compared to less than 15 percent of non-veterans.

In addition, almost a third of former service members between 55 and 64 reported having more than one chronic disease, while only a quarter of men who’d never served said the same.

Starting at age 35, vets report having more work problems related to physical, mental, or emotional issues, and veterans in general are more likely to describe their health as fair or poor. In addition, older veterans are more likely to suffer “serious psychological distress.”

“The effects of military service on physical and psychological health, especially after extended overseas deployments, are complex,” write the researchers. “There may also be long-term consequences of military service for the health and health care utilization of veterans as they age.”

However, the researchers point out that since nearly all veterans have health insurance, that could “influence their access to health care and the likelihood of being diagnosed with various conditions.”


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